Date of Award

2020

First Advisor

Michael Bergman

Second Advisor

Eric Kramer

Abstract

5G (Fifth Generation) telecommunications is promised to bring the fastest internet speeds to date. While the basic principles behind information communication are practically the same, what separates 5G from previous generations of telecommunications is that it makes use of the millimeter wave (mmWave) frequency spectrum. Previous generations avoided using these frequencies for data transmission, as higher frequencies tend to cause more technical problems, the most salient of which is that mmWave frequencies are very limited in their range of transmission. Another big problem that comes with mmWaves is a type of distortion called phase noise which becomes a considerable problem for higher frequency waves. To help correct these types of distortions, 5G makes use of something called reference signals. These signals are not signals that carry relevant information (videos, audio files, etc) -- their sole purpose is to expose any channel distortion that may be present. Because they are predetermined according to certain protocols, we know what the reference signal should look like both at the transmitter and the receiver. Thus, we can analyze how the reference signal distorts and by extrapolation remove that same type of distortion from the information-bearing signal of interest. This thesis specifically deals with the Phase Tracking Reference Signal (PT-RS), which is used to eliminate phase noise. The goal of this project was to develop some working models of how PT-RS should be generated at receivers and transmitters. This thesis consists of work I did with my former employer AWR Corporation (Applied Wave Research) and for Columbia University’s Electrical Engineering Senior Project. My supervisor was Gent Paparisto, a software engineer for AWR in charge of developing the VSS (Visual Simulation System), a software suite for the design of complete, end-to-end communications systems. One of his side projects was creating a block for generating the PT-RS, as more customers are designing their systems according to 5G standards. Paparisto gave me this assignment to work on as my senior project. It consisted chiefly of building a PT-RS source i.e. a system component that would generate the PT-RS for other applications. Later on, Paparisto would implement this into the software as a standardized block. The design process took three stages: the first was understanding how the PT-RS is generated, the second was programming the PT-RS into MATLAB to create a derivative model of how it works, and the third and final stage was to implement this design into the VSS. This we managed to do successfully. We were also planning on using the PT-RS to make some estimates for phase noise in some example projects Gent had drafted. However, due to mitigating circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to accomplish this last part, though the theory behind how the PT-RS can be used to eliminate phase noise is still given towards the end of this thesis.

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